On Saturday night, Albert Pujols hit his 600th career home run, and he did it in grand style. Of the nine MLB players ever to hit 600 or more home runs, Pujols is the first player to get his 600th home run on a grand slam, according to Ryan Spaeder of the excellent @aceofspaeder Twitter account:
Congratulations Albert Pujols on home run number 600. He is the first player ever to hit a grand slam for his 600th homer.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) June 4, 2017
This moment was a long time coming for the future Hall of Fame player, something fans of the MLB have expected for a long time. Although Pujols is now 37, he is signed through 2021, and may still have a decent shot at 700 plus home runs.
Taking a look at Pujols versus the other eight members of the 600 home run club, he ranks 5th in wRC+ at 152 behind Babe Ruth (197), Barry Bonds (173), Willie Mays (154), and Hank Aaron (153). He also ranks 3rd in slugging percentage at .569 behind Ruth (.690) and Bonds (.607).
Of the nine members of the 600 home run club, Pujols is just the second 1B to join with Jim Thome. Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. all made the club as outfielders. Alex Rodriguez is the only other member to not be an outfielder or first baseman, playing mostly SS and 3B in his career.
As it stands, Pujols currently sits at 600 home runs. This season he has a shot to pass Sammy Sosa (609) and Jim Thome (612). The following season in 2018, he has a good shot of passing Ken Griffey Jr. at 630. Next up for him would be the possibility of passing Willie Mays with his 660 possibly some time in the 2019 season if he’s still starting by then. After that it will get harder and harder to move up the list, with Alex Rodriguez sitting in fourth place at 696 home runs, Babe Ruth in third place with 714 home runs, Hank Aaron with 755 home runs, and then the king of them all Barry Bonds in first with 762 home runs.
The likeliest thing to happen will be Pujols passing up Mays and then flirting with Arod and then 700 home runs before his career ends. Pujols is, unfortunately, trending downward in production at this point in his career, but has still shown that he can hit home runs with some of the better power hitters in baseball. From 2015 till now, Pujols has 80 home runs, which is 11th best in the league in that time.
Pujols’ rate stats such as batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging may be getting worse over time as he gets older, but he has proven that he can still mash home runs. As long as he keeps doing that, we as fans still have a lot of fun milestones to look forward to for The Machine.
Congrats on 600, Albert. Here’s hoping for another 100.